BY Alonso Duralde
October 14 2009 6:00 AM ET
Granted unprecedented access to the Broadway audition process, directors James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo sent camera crews all over the tryouts for the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line. Since the show itself is about an audition, the whole process became what Del Deo calls an “organic mirror.”
The result was Every Little Step, a documentary that dazzled critics and Chorus Line fans alike. And for those fans who wish the movie had spent more time talking about Michael Bennett’s legendary 1975 production -- which won nine Tony awards and a Pulitzer, among other honors -- the DVD extras feature lots of goodies, including audiotapes of the original all-night dancers’ gabfest that formed the basis of the show and extended interviews with Donna McKechnie and other original cast members.
Stern has a deep Broadway background, having produced such stage hits as The Producers, Hairspray, Legally Blonde, and Stomp, but for Del Deo, making the film was a fascinating learning process about what goes on behind the scenes of the Great White Way.
Advocate.com: Everyone I know who has seen the film loves it -- and almost all of them cried -- but the more hard-core theater people wanted more about the original production. But now that I see the deleted scenes on the DVD, it’s clear you guys covered that but then had to cut it for time.
Adam Del Deo: When [revival producer] John Breglio called Jim Stern and asked if he was interested in making the film, before they were launching the auditions for the revival of A Chorus Line, Jim and I wanted to have a strong a take on what we thought we could get accomplished. We talked about a lot of different versions that we could explore for the film, and we decided the strongest take for us was the idea of crafting the film of trials of dancers living in New York, sacrificing everything, doing what they love, their hopes and dreams of working on Broadway. And what we loved was that Michael Bennett had created a play about people sacrificing everything, doing what they love, their hopes and dreams of working on Broadway. The fact that we had an organic mirror, we thought it would be interesting to take both of those worlds and intercut the auditions for the contemporary version with the creation of the original.
We talked a lot about Federico Fellini’s 8½. We knew there were a lot of ways to approach the film, but for us as directors, from the outset, that was the film we were trying to create. Something that would appeal not only to hard-core aficionados of A Chorus Line, but also enough of an openness that if you’d never heard of A Chorus Line, you could go in and watch the film and still enjoy it.